Thursday, December 1, 2011

Won't Miss #393 - using Japanese English

I don't mind if Japanese people use Japanese English (as opposed to "Engrish", which is a whole other kettle of fish) because it is understandable that they do. If I'm teaching them, I just point out that they shouldn't use it and tell them the correct words or phrases. Unfortunately, sometimes you find yourself being unable to make yourself understood unless you resort to using it yourself. At my former job, we used to ask people what their "outstanding feature" was in regards to their appearance. The Japanese translation that we were told to use, tokucho, was confusing because the students would answer about their personalities, not their countenance. The best way to get what you wanted was to ask the student what his or her "charm point" was because this was a Japanese English term that was popular at the time. Sometimes, when you've struggled to get your point across in English and then Japanese and have still failed, you find yourself resorting to using these terms and it always makes me feel bad for doing so. I'm supposed to be teaching proper English, not using weird phrases because it expedites understanding.

I won't miss how I feel like I've failed miserably when I resort to using Japanese English to make myself understood.